Aquaponics

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novaris
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Aquaponics

Postby novaris » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:12 pm

I have found aquaponics, the process of farming fish and growing vegetables together to be a great system. In fact it is partly how I came to find out about NSF. I saw part of the Australian story about Peter but did not know who he was. More recently I discovered his name in a discussion on one of the aquaponics forums.

One of the things that attracted me to aquaponics was that I had had an interest in hydroponics but had always found it too artificial for my taste. I did not like all the sterility and dependence on chemicals. I had also wanted to keep fish for eating but did not know how till I studied aquaponics.

Aquaponics (AP) was a small scale duplication of natural processes and so I found it much more appealing than hydroponics. In a nutshell AP is a recirculating aquaculture system that relies on nitrogen cycle bacteria converting toxic (too the fish) waste to plant nutrients and then plants using the nutrients to return fresh water to the fish. The type of system I use, uses flood and drain cycles to both mechanically and biologically filter the wastes from the water.

I was stunned when I read Peters comment about Professor Haikai Tane's description "step-diffusion broadacre hydroponics." The similarity was amazing.
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duane
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Postby duane » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:39 pm

Peter often speaks and mentions in his latest book about the fact that landscapes start at the high forests and run all the way down to aquaculture.

It is a universal landscape principle that Peter says is everywhere.

Great post! And great to see you too have made this important link! and told everyone.

ColinJEly
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Postby ColinJEly » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:07 am

G'day
Josh Byrne on the Gardening Show on the ABC had a segment on a fellow in Perth who is doing just this. You can grow plants in the fish pond to feed the fish, then use the fishwaste to grow other edible plants.

Cheers

Col.

duane
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Postby duane » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:27 pm

Interestingly, today on ABC Radio, was a report which said "When the Oceans first came into being they were like a chemical soup of the most disgusting kind (my words). It was not the Bondi Beach we know today.(my words).

It was the predecessor of the Oceans we know today. We have now uncovered evidence to suggest that the first animals to colonise this brew were microscopic sponges. They lived in this poisonous brew and flourished. Eventually over evolutionary time they and other animals, took all TOXINS out of the soup so that eventually fish and other higher organisms could survive."

Seems to me that you are spot on with the statement:
Aquaponics (AP) was a small scale duplication of natural processes and so I found it much more appealing than hydroponics. In a nutshell AP is a recirculating aquaculture system that relies on nitrogen cycle bacteria converting toxic (too the fish) waste to plant nutrients and then plants using the nutrients to return fresh water to the fish.

novaris
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Postby novaris » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:25 pm

ColinJEly wrote:G'day
Josh Byrne on the Gardening Show on the ABC had a segment on a fellow in Perth who is doing just this. You can grow plants in the fish pond to feed the fish, then use the fishwaste to grow other edible plants.
Yeah aquaponics is great, there is a bit of exaggeration about it's effectiveness from the odd source but it really does work.
My current setup is designed for cold water fish in my case trout, I can keep trout all year in Melbourne (even through this heat wave) current fish are about 33cm 500gm each. The system can carry up to 30Kg of fish at a time and is designed to produce about 2Kg of fish per month. It holds 1700L of water and currently provides 4.5sqr meters of grow beds for plants, I am in the process of gradually expanding the grow bed area to about 9m. I have grown lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, watercress, parsnips, carrots, tai basil, tomatoes, coriander, water melon and pumpkin in it. I estimate it is about 1.5 times as effective as our organic vegetable garden.
The whole system runs on about 50w of energy.
Writeup and pictures for the interested.
http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... =18&t=3693
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Adrian
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Postby Adrian » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:08 am

Novaris,
Thanks for posting the link, i would love to come one day and take a look at your design and what you are doing, i'm realy interested.
Before i went and had a look i asked myself how big would this be, untill i saw your photos and sketches on your blog.
Always keep an open mind

novaris
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Location: Mooroolbark, Vic, Australia
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Postby novaris » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:10 am

Adrian you are welcome anytime you are in the area I am in Mooroolbark, Melbourne. Also there is a system I am aware of in Katunga. If you like I could put you in touch with Alex, I am fairly sure would be happy to show you around.
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Adrian
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:40 pm
Location: Northern Victoria Shepparton Area

Postby Adrian » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:43 pm

That would be great as i'm only about 20mins from Katunga.
Thankyou
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drpat
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Aquaponics

Postby drpat » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:41 pm

Does anybody know of any research or info on the nutritional value of vegetables grown with an aquaponic system as opposed to soil grown?
Steve
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Adrian
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:40 pm
Location: Northern Victoria Shepparton Area

Re: Aquaponics

Postby Adrian » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:35 pm

drpat wrote:Does anybody know of any research or info on the nutritional value of vegetables grown with an aquaponic system as opposed to soil grown?

Have you used the link that Novaris has provided to look into the back yard aquaponics site :?:
There is a fella using the name OutBackOssie, just use the search bar to find him, as he is in your area if you would like to see one in action. He has done a great job of blogging his system :!:
Always keep an open mind

novaris
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:55 pm
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Re: Aquaponics

Postby novaris » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:45 am

drpat wrote:Does anybody know of any research or info on the nutritional value of vegetables grown with an aquaponic system as opposed to soil grown?
At the moment I am not aware of any studies, I can tell you that the quality of what I have grown seems equal to our normal vegi garden. Also if studies are to be done several factors regarding the system need to be taken into account for instance I believe that the University of the Virgin Islands (who were one of the major developers of aquaponics (AP)) have done comparative studies on AP compared to hydroponics, they found the results depended on the age of the system, as the AP system ages there appears to be changes in the micro biology that leads to improved results. At the beginning hydroponics out performed AP but after several years AP out performed hydroponics on every metric.

Also most backyard systems I know of use a grow medium such as gravel or an equivalent, mature systems have been found to contain earthworms, and it has now become comment practice to add them to the system. There is also anecdotal evidence that mature setups may have anaerobic regions that can cause chelation increasing available minerals from iron and rock.

Many AP enthusiasts add plant supplements such as the seaweed extract seasol to ensure supply of potassium and micro nutrients.

I would like to see some studies as I wonder about the effects of high nitrogen availability on the plants, it is my understanding that this is often a problem with heavy fertilized soil plants leading to increased nitrates and oxalic acid.

My personal suspicion is that nutrient balance is probably at issue in a mature well balanced AP system we see excellent leaf growth but also flowering, fruiting and root development.

One of my observations over the years is in how well naturally grown fruits keep compared to the store bought take oranges for instance I find that store bought oranges will usually begin to rot within 1-2 weeks, however our home grown ones shrivel but don't rot you can still eat them a month after picking and they are great. I have not yet had much chance to compare AP to soil in this manner.
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Penny
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Location: Beverley WA

Postby Penny » Fri May 07, 2010 9:46 pm

here in Perth the bloke you want to talk to is Joel Malcolm. Backyard Aquaponics. I first met him when I went to see him while he was developing his system. It is amazing the ammount of food he produces in a small simple system.
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